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Wednesday June 20, 2007 - 10:40:59 GMT
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FOREX NEWS-Yen mired near lows; BoE minutes boost sterling

FOREX-Yen mired near lows; BoE minutes boost sterling
Wed Jun 20, 2007 6:15 AM ET

(Changes byline, adds quotes, updates prices)

By Toni Vorobyova

LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - The low-yielding yen was mired near a record low against the euro and a 4-1/2 year trough versus the dollar on Wednesday, while sterling rose across the board after surprisingly hawkish Bank of England minutes.

With the focus on interest rate differentials, the Swedish crown jumped one percent versus the euro after the Riksbank raised rates to 3.5 percent and revised up its forecast for future rates by more than expected.

Investors remained comfortable with using the low-yielding yen to buy higher-return assets. The carry trade theme was also reflected in high-yielding Australian and New Zealand dollars, hitting 16- and 20-year peaks respectively versus the yen.

The yen has slid since Bank of Japan Governor Toshihiko Fukui said last Friday the BOJ wanted to confirm the sustainability of capital and consumer spending, erasing some speculation of a move as soon as July to 0.75 percent from the current 0.50 percent.

"I don't think the yen's problems are over by any means, but there are some slight signs of momentum loss at the moment," said Ian Gunner, head of foreign exchange research at Mellon Financial Corporation.

By 0943 GMT, the dollar was steady on the day at 123.39 yen , still within sight of the 4-1/2 year peak of 123.75 hit earlier this week, according to Reuters data.

The single European currency was steady at $1.3428 , having rebounded from an 11-week low of $1.3262 touched last week. It traded at 165.68 yen , close to the record high of 166.11 yen hit on Tuesday.

HAWKS IN UK, SWEDEN

Interest hawks in Britain got a boost after Bank of England minutes showed that four policymakers -- including Governor Mervyn King -- had dissented from this month's on-hold decision by voting in favour of a hike.

Investors had expected a more cautious 7-2 split.

"It is hawkish, it does mean that the market will start to discount a rate hike at the next meeting, and that is very supportive of sterling," said Gunner at Mellon.

Sterling rose to a two-week high of $1.9924 , moving back towards 26-year peaks above $2 set back in April.

The Swedish crown was on track for its biggest one-day gain versus the euro in nearly five years , after the Riksbank upped its forecast for average rates in the fourth quarter to 3.9 percent from 3.5 percent previously.

Analysts were looking for a smaller upward revision, to around 3.75 percent.

"The Riksbank have delivered a more hawkish (future) interest rate trajectory than what the market had anticipated and that is what's driving the crown stronger," said Johan Javeus, FX strategist at SEB Merchant Banking in Stockholm.

The Swiss franc also strengthened against the euro after producer and import price inflation in May was much higher than expected.

FED SPEAKERS

The dollar has slipped versus the euro in the past three sessions as a rebound in Treasuries from their sharp sell-off pulled benchmark U.S. yields down from a five-year high, which had given the U.S. currency a boost.

Investors will look to testimony from U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and speeches from Fed officials including Federal Reserve Bank of New York President Timothy Geithner for further direction.

© Reuters 2007. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.


 

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